New Google Maps version of EARTH ALERTS

August 30, 2010

How would you like to monitor, in near real-time, natural events (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, cyclones) that occur here on mother earth? You can with the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts.

Earth Alerts

Before I go further, I must give credit where credit is due. The Google Maps version of Earth Alerts is actually an offspring to the software version of Earth Alerts.

Earth Alerts is a Windows-based application that allows you to monitor in near real-time a variety of natural hazard events that are occurring anywhere around the world. Alert notifications, reports, and imagery provide the user with a convenient way to view natural phenomenon as they occur, whether close to home or some far-flung corner of the globe!

Earth Alerts uses a variety of online resources provided by organizations such as the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Institution (just to name a few), to identify what sort of activities “Mother Earth” is currently dishing out on the planet. [MORE]

To use this offspring (cloud based) version Earth Alerts, simply visit, in your browser, the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts [HERE]. Once loaded into your browser you are presented with a map of the world with icons depicting current (or recent) alerts; plus, many drop down options and layers to enhance your experience. For example, the U.S. is currently monitoring several hurricanes in the Atlantic. With the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts you can monitor and track the strength, locations and the direction these hurricanes are tracking.

Earth Alerts

In this particular case, by clicking on any of the hurricane alert symbols you can gather current information that is provided by the Weather Underground.

Weather Underground

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Prices Dropping on SanDisk Cruzer 16 GB Flash Drives

August 30, 2010

I have been noticing that if you look around, you can find a 16 GB SanDisk Cruzer Drive in the $25.00 range. As a matter of fact, at the time of this post, Amazon had one [ CLICK HERE ] listed for $22.99 plus shipping and handling. I can remember when the 16 GB SanDisk Cruzer drives were going for a whole lot more.

SanDisk Cruzer

I have been a user of these little retractable (dependable) drives for years and the 16 GB drive at those prices are looking real good to me. These drives are great for putting your computer on a stick (with portable apps) and for off site file storage.

With USB ports on computers, to new ports popping up on cars, DVD players, TVs, photo frames, and more, the need for a fast and reliable way to share your digital content on a moment’s notice is greater than ever.

The SanDisk® Cruzer® USB Flash drive meets that need. This reliable flash drive fits in the palm of your hand and gives you the storage capacity you need to store and transfer up to 16 GB of data.

While the drive is optimized for laptops and devices with USB 2.0 port, it is backwards compatible with older devices that have USB 1.1 ports, so you can be assured of near universal compatibility.

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A FREE Magnifier for Your Computer

August 30, 2010

If you, or someone you know, is visually impaired; or you are like me, getting weak in the eyes, then give OneLoupe a try.

OneLoupe is a software driven virtual magnifier for your PC that works just like a real magnifying glass. There is no install file to OneLoupe. Simply download and run (less than 40K file size).

Once you have OneLoupe up on the screen, you can use the following commands (in the screenshot) to manipulate how OneLoupe works. For example, when I use OneLoupe, I will use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, will hit the letter “T” on the keyboard to minimize OneLoupe to the system tray and will use the “left-right-up-down arrow keys” on the keyboard to change the dimensions of OneLoupe.

Screenshot

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A FREE Program To Remove Unwanted Apps

August 29, 2010

Today I was at a loss on what to write about when Big Geek Daddy served up an app to me, called IObit Uninstaller.

Big Geek Daddy is a helpful and humorous website where both the Computer Geek and the Average PC User can find information about computing and Internet use as well as hundreds of Funny Videos.

 IObit is always on the move with numerous apps, some paid and some FREE; and, IObit Uninstaller is one of their freebies (i.e. Advanced System Care, Smart Defrag, IObit Toolbox to name a few).

What you are going to find with IObit Uninstaller is that it is a third party uninstaller similar to Revo Uninstaller. The “cool factors” with IObit’s Uninstaller is there is no software to install (simply download and run); it will uninstall toolbars (hooray); there is a “standard” uninstall process (like Windows) and an advanced (more aggressive) uninstall process; AND, if you find the app you want to uninstall is not listed, you can use IObit Uninstaller to help you find and remove the app.

IObit Uninstaller

When you first run an app such as this, remember “patience”. It will take a minute for it to poll your system and collect the information that it needs to make the magic happen.

Operating Systems Supported

Microsoft® Windows® 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) Starter/ Home Basic/Home Premium/Professional/Ultimate

Microsoft® Windows® Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Business /Ultimate

Microsoft® Windows® XP (32-bit and 64-bit) with SP2/SP3 or Home/Professional/Media Center

Microsoft® Windows® 2000 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Hardware Requirements

300 MHz processor or faster processor
256 MB of RAM
30 MB of free hard disk space

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Upload Files to VirusTotal Directly from Windows Explorer

August 28, 2010

VirusTotal is an online service, that is available to you (for FREE), that analyzes suspicious files and URL’s. Typically, to use the service you visit VirusTotal [ HERE ] and upload the file in question or enter the questionable URL (web address). VirusTotal will go to work scanning the file against numerous antivirus engines OR will go to work reviewing any URL you submit using multiple analysis tools.

VirusTotal

I know you are thinking, why would I need to do this, especially when I already have security software installed on my PC that will automatically check my files for me?  It is like this, when we go to the Doctor for something that is suspicious, it is best to get a second opinion.  In the case of a suspcious file, VirusTotal is that second opinion.

I have been a user of VirusTotal for a long time; however, I often wondered; “Is there way to upload a suspicious file to VirusTotal and get a result without having to go through the steps of opening my browser and actually going to the VirusTotal site to upload the file?”.

You have probably heard myself and some of the other Techs comment; “If you can think it, someone has done it!”. The answer to that question is “yes”.  It is called VirusTotal Uploader.

VirusTotal Uploader

After you install VirusTotal Uploader, you simply right-click any file under 20MB, in Windows Explorer, and choose “VirusTotal” from the Send To Windows menu. The scan results will display in your browser as usual.  Wow, what a neat concept…

VirusTotal Uploader

As someone that loves testing free and open source software, I will often pipe the install file to VirusTotal to make sure all is right.  One thing to keep in mind is that there are occasions where “false positives” will occur with a service such as this; however, VirusTotal will help keep you security conscious and on your toes.

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Time Magazines’ 50 Best Websites of 2010

August 26, 2010

As we continue to move more toward cloud computing here is a sampling of some of the best websites of 2010, as selected by Time Magazine (in Partnership with CNN). 

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

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The Best in the Online World

image

August 25,2010

From the helpful to the distracting, the big hitters to the unknowns, TIME offers a road map to the best of the Web More »

Time Magazine

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Computer Tutorial Site Based On Pictures

August 26, 2010

Have you ever heard that saying, “What do I have to do, draw you a picture?”.  Well, when it comes to computers, I say “YES”!

Years ago when I was managing a network where I was the jack of all trades, master of none, I was tasked with getting people onboard with Microsoft Office.  Keep in mind, this was a time when people had just mastered the learning curve for WordPefect, the defacto wordprocessing program at the time.  One thing I learned during this transition was to use good instructions and pictures. As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words” and it is in those pictorial words that the end user can relate to.

I came across a website, called “In Pictures” tutorials, that does exactly what I liked to do and that was make computer tutorials (or instructions) based on pictures, not words.

In Pictures

The site currently offers up tutorials focused on the Microsoft Office products, Openoffice.org, Web Layout and Web Programming. I do not know if this is an ongoing project or not; but, it is a good “BASIC” resource, to get you started, if you need some assistance in the areas mentioned.

You can get to In Pictures Tutorials [ HERE ] .

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Make Free Phone Calls from Your Gmail Account

August 25, 2010

You may have noticed in your Gmail a new addition where you can make phone calls, using your computer and microphone, directly from your Gmail account. Calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of the year and calls to other countries will be billed at very low rates

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

_____________________________________________

Call phones from Gmail

image

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | 9:40 AM

Posted by Robin Schriebman, Software Engineer

Gmail voice and video chat makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family using your computer’s microphone and speakers. But until now, this required both people to be at their computers, signed into Gmail at the same time. Given that most of us don’t spend all day in front of our computers, we thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if you could call people directly on their phones?” [ MORE ]

_____________________________________________

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Bookmarks4Techs – New Site Update #29

August 25, 2010

Be sure to visit Bookmarks4Techs, the sister site to What’s On My PC for the frequently added site updates, PLUS the compilation of links to over 445 Tech Sites and RSS Feeds to some of the most popular sites on the internet.  Site Update #29 features the addition of a new site called GilsMethod, featured FREE software – Portable Start Menu, and featured site – Bits from Bill.

You can visit Bookmarks4Techs [CLICK HERE] to see these and the many of the other site updates. If you do not see your tech site there, let me know!

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#74)

August 25, 2010

Nice roundup of Geek Squeaks’ this week… If you are information technology connoisseur then it would behoove you to bookmark and visit each of these sites.  I know I depend on these sites for my daily dosage of IT…

Geek Squeaks

AKSGEEK Live
Nokia 5250 Touch Screen Smartphone
Launched with a tag of €115

Awesome Wallpapers
Ubuntu Wallpaper Set 20

My Technology Guide
How To Disable Facebook Places and Protect Your Privacy

Snakebytez
Gmail Improves “Undo Send” Feature

TTC Shelbyville
Make Your Own Sidebar Gadget

404 Tech Support
Recycle Your Gadgets for Free or for Cash with Gazelle

I Want Ice Water
Baby Fred Is Gettin’ Funky (via COLTMONDAY)

Techolar
Remove all hyperlinks in Microsoft Word at a time.

Worthy Tips
Giving Away 50 License Of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum

Netbook Freeware
System Nucleus: Best Free System Tool For Your Netbook

I Love Free Software
DocMGR – Free Document Management System

Chicago Mac/PC Support
Free Windows system optimization tools (via Jovan’s Blog)

Malware Removal Instructions
Remove the fake Microsoft Security Essentials Alert
(Uninstall Instructions)

Online Storage Reviews
Free Online Tools for your business

Laptop Reviews Central
Canadian PC maker offers the ‘dream laptop’

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Ignorance is the Greatest Cyber Threat

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Windows Live Writer. Adding a Watermark.

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Styling Windows Vista (Part 3):
How to Change the Logon Screen

Lifehacker
How to Build a Hidden Home Theater PC
Inside Your Entertainment Center [DIY]

Rarst.net
Is unmaintained software worse?

Tech-for Everyone
Tech Paul’s Friend of the Internet Surfer Award – 2010

AskBillFirst
iTunes – Authorizing and Deauthorizing

Websites, Internet, Software Tips and Reviews
Exclusive: Coveroo Review And Discount Code

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites August 22

Mister Reiner
The real deal when it comes to passwords

GadgetsHolic
LG Neon 2 Slider Phone Available At Rogers

RGdot
4 Degrees Celsius Increase

AKS-Feel The Change
Minimize System Boot up time with Soluto

Carol’s Vault
Oloneo PhotoEngine: light manipulation freeware

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove Pest Detector 4.1

Plato On-Line
Facebook New Feature Lures ‘Please Rob Me’

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Malware Attacks – How Much Disclosure Are You Entitled To?

thePC Security
Boot Sector Fix – Repair MBR With Avira Antivirus Tool

Mrintech
Create/Generate Image XML Sitemap for WordPress Blog

Canadian Tech Blogger
15 Facts About Net Neutrality

Bookmarks4Techs
Site Update #28

What’s On My PC
A Challenging but GREAT Program Launcher

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FREE TODAY ONLY – Full Version of Wondershare Time Freeze

August 25, 2010

I had just posted an article about Wondershare Time Freeze two days ago [“The Ultimate FREE System Protection Tool”] .

Two readers of the blog pointed out that you can get the FULL VERSION of Wondershare Time Freeze through Giveaway of the Day [CLICK HERE] . This giveaway offer is for TODAY ONLY (August 25th).

Wondershare Time Freeze 2.0 is easy and effective virtual system software. It creates a virtual environment for your system partition, on which you surf online, run applications and test game installations. All changes (computer history, new installations, infected virus) occur on the virtual system will disappear. So your real system is protected and your privacy is safe and can’t be peeped by others.

Succeeded the easiness and effectiveness of 1.0 version, Time Freeze 2.0 adds support to 64-bit OS, enhanced MBR protection, adds Physical Memory Buffer mode which speeds up virtual system performance at 60%. The improved GUI also brings you better using experience.

Once you download Wondershare Time Freeze from Giveaway of the Day, unzip the dowloaded file and there will be instruction packaged with the download in a “readme.txt” file.

  • Unzip the package and run Setup.exe to install Wondershare Time Freeze first;
  • Go to http://www.disk-utilities.com/time-freeze/,
  • Type your name and Email in the box, and click Get Keycode, then you may find the keycode in your mailbox;
  • Launch Wondershare Time Freeze, enter the key code, and click Register, then the software will be activated immediately.

You have to install and activate it before the Giveaway offer for the software is over.

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A FREE Utility to Backup Your Gmail

August 24, 2010

Personally, I am a major player when it comes to using Gmail. I use Gmail as my primary email client (or service provider) instead of using a locally installed client such as Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or Thunderbird.  The only problem with my strategy is that all of my email transactions are stored in the cloud (on the internet) and not on my local computer.

To ultimately resolve this problem and to make my strategy whole, I found a FREE backup utility that is specifically engineered to backup my Gmail, called Gmail Backup.

Gmail Backup

Gmail Backup is very easy to use. Simply enter your full Gmail login address, your Gmail Password, select a Backup Folder, select a date range (or only the Newest emails) and click on Backup.

This program is aimed to backup and restore of your GMail mailbox.You will need to activate the IMAP access to your mailbox, to do so, please open your GMail settings and under POP/IMAP tab activate this option.

Keep in mind that the first backup you make, may be time consuming, due to the amount of emails (and attachments) it may have to download (or backup). Following that first backup, you can do incremental backups.

Downloading all emails from your Gmail Account every time you want to backup your emails would be a nightmare. In this case it comes in hand the incremental downloading feature of email.

Gmail Backup checks all emails in the Gmail Account whether their are already downloaded. If so than it skips them. It only download emails which are not presented in your local copy. However, the checking emails takes time too.

As result, we recommend to specify the date since you want to download emails.

The backup emails that are downloaded will be in the standard .eml file format which can be read by just about any email client. In my case I use PopPeeper for this purpose. Also, you can restore emails to your Gmail account, as well, with Gmail Backup.

This is another app that will only get better and is worth its’ weight in gold.

NOTE: Also check out A Backup Strategy for Your Gmail [ HERE ]

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The Ultimate FREE System Protection Tool

August 23, 2010

If you are someone that tests software; OR manages computers where there are numerous users (such as at a kisosk, classroom, library or at home with the kids); OR, you are simply are looking for the ultimate in computer protection, then look no further. The solution is a virtualization application called  Wondershare Time Freeze.

Recently Bill Mullins’ at Tech Thoughts brought Wondershare Time Freeze to our attention (see “For Added Internet Protection – Virtualize Your System with Free Wondershare Time Freeze” ). Since I have been following various virtualization apps, for quite sometime; I decided, following Bill’s review, to give Time Freeze a try.

Wondershare Time Freeze

Before I go any further there are a couple of important points to make here.

One, with any system altering utility, it is important that you have a backup image of your computer. A good FREE solution for that is Macrium Reflect.

Two, Wondershare Time Freeze comes in a FREE version and a PAID version that has additional features.

Click Here for Comparison

Time Freeze Comparison

After testing and using Wondershare Time Freeze, I would not hesitate in buying this software.

What is Wondershare Time Freeze?

Wondershare Time Freeze is what is known as a virtualization application. To the everyday computer user, do not let these big words give the illusion this is difficult software to use. It is not… The reason virtualization apps are not commonly used is because most people do not understand them and are afraid to try something that is completely out of the norm. To me, virtualization apps, if used properly, are the answer to ultimately protecting our PC’s from viruses, malware, dumb mistakes, etc…

How does Wondershare Time Freeze work?

In a nutshell, you install Wondershare Time Freeze on your PC, start it up, move the slider, with your mouse, from “OFF” to “ON”.  At this point you will be asked “Do you want to enable system protection?”. Click on “Yes”,  and be patient (a slight 10 – 15 second delay will occur while the PC is being switched from “real” mode to “virtual” mode.).

Time Freeze Slider

Once your PC is in virtual mode, you are protected. Your PC at this point is basically impenetrable. If you mess up anywhere on your PC (get a virus, malware, accidentally delete a file), simply reboot your computer. After reboot, your computer will return to the state it was in prior to going into virtual mode.  To see how this works, click on the video demo below.

Time Freeze Video Demo

I currently use Wondershare Time Freeze to test software that I review for What’s On My PC. I will put the PC into a virtual mode with Time Freeze and then install the software I intend to test. When I am finished, I simply reboot the computer to return to the state that it was in prior to my testing. I also use Time Freeze on my netbook, all of the time, to keep it in a time frozen state. The only time I do not run the netbook in virtual mode is when I perform routine software maintenance updates (such as antivirus definition updates, windows updates, etc.).

Now keep in mind and this is very important. While you are in virtual mode, any files you save or download to your main drive volume (usually the “C” Drive) will be lost when you reboot. A workaround that I use is that I save files I download (or work on) to one of my external drives.

To me, virtualization apps, such as Time Freeze are ideal in settings where multiple people use a PC (such as in a library, student lab, children at home, etc…). Simply run the PC in virtual mode and when the student or child finishes with the PC, reboot back into real mode and to the state it was in prior to going into virtual mode. Wondershare Time Freeze is great way to keep the configuration changes on a PC from being changed or altered.

Key Features of Wondershare Time Freeze

Wondershare Time Freeze is system protection software. It works easy and effective to create a free virtual system environment to keep your computer safe from all types of viruses and other malicious attacks. It provides the following advantages:

Virtual system as the shadow of the actual system: prevent threats of any viruses, malware, spyware and Trojans.

Simply reboot computer to return to the original state. Eliminates cost for system maintenance.

Surf internet safely, and play around with computer with NO trace left.

Prevent access to protected files and folders. Protect your privacy effectively

Manage the program with a custom password setting and keep inexperienced users from making change to your settings and configures

Compatible with Windows 7/XP/Vista/2000.

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Bookmarks4Techs – New Site Update (#28)

August 22, 2010

Be sure to visit Bookmarks4Techs, the sister site to What’s On My PC for the frequently added site updates, PLUS the compilation of links to over 440 Tech SitesSite Update #28 features the addition of a new site called Red Ferret, featured FREE software – DNS Benchmark, and featured site – Laptop Reviews Central. You can visit Bookmarks4Techs [HERE] to see these and the many of the other site updates.

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A Batch Image Converter that is FREE, FAST and EASY

August 21, 2010

If you own a digital camera don’t be fooled into thinking that you are at the mercy of the software that oftentimes ships with the camera. There are many other numerous software options available (for FREE) that will make your life much easier. For example, the simple task of resizing and converting a photo should be just that, “a simple task”; not a task where you are sorting through menus to find what you need to accomplish the task.

A FREE, FAST and EASY option, that I recently found for resizing photos, is called Photo Magician.

Photo Magician

Photo Magician is a small and easy to use program that allows you to quickly scale and convert your images. It will enable you to easily process several files at once and create custom conversion profiles. The supported formats include common ones like BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG and TIF but the application can handles some that are more special like RAW images, DDS, PCX, PSD, TARGA, WBMP and WMF.  There is also a drag and drop quick convert mode to make the conversion process even faster and easier.

Using Photo Magician is an easy step-by-step process:

  • Select the input folder (where your images are stored)
  • Select the output folder (where you want the resized images stored)
  • Select a “resizing” profile that you want to use
  • Select any additional options you wish to apply
  • Click on “Process Image”

As stated earlier there are numerous FREE software options out there to make your life with your photos (and digital camera) much easier and Photo Magician is one such example. In my testing of Photo Magician I found it to be one of the fastest image converters I have experienced. Keep an eye on this one; it will surely get even better.

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